HOW TO USE A DICTIONARY By Ignatius Septo Pramesworo


HOW TO USE A DICTIONARY By Ignatius Septo Pramesworo

If you want to use a dictionary, you should know some ideas. For example:

  1. A dictionary will give the idea how to spell a word and its special plural form.
  2. It gives the idea, whether or not the word is capitalized or abbreviated.
  3. A dictionary will show you how to break the word into syllables.
  4. You can also know how to pronounce the word.
  5. A dictionary will give you the part of speech of a word.
  6. It also shows different meanings that the word has, as well as synonyms (same meaning) and antonyms (opposite meaning).
  7. In a dictionary, you can see a sentence or expression with the word used correctly.
  8. There are some meanings of important prefixes and suffixes.
  9. In a dictionary, you can find special uses of the word.
  10. Moreover, in some dictionaries, you can read the history of the word.
  11. You see also other words that are derived from the main word.


In special sections in some dictionaries you can also find:

  1. Foreign words and phrases;
  2. Abbreviations;
  3. Addresses of colleges or government offices; and
  4. The population of cities and countries.


If you implement the following ideas, you will save your time when you use a dictionary:

  1. Know and use proper alphabetical order;
  2. Use guide words to save time; and
  3. Check all abbreviations and symbols in the special sections


If at first you do not  succeed in finding the word, don’t give up. You might need to check several possible spellings before finding the word. You can substitute the meaning you find for the word in the sentence. Be sure you select the most appropriate meaning, not merely the first one you come to.

Moreover, you should try saying the word aloud after you look at the pronunciation key.

The idea of this paper was taken from The University of Alabama-Center for Academic Success

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